You might think we don’t need to do much about protecting trees and plants in our gardens during the winter. After all, aren’t they used to being outside in all elements? However, to give our garden life the best possible chance of faring well, a little help during extreme weather conditions is always useful. Plants can become seriously damaged from the impact of frost, ice, snow and wind.

Some of the damage that might arise includes leaves being killed off by frost and soil becoming too wet or dehydrated, causing the roots to rot. Any non-native plants and trees are also not used to the harsh conditions that winter can bring, so would benefit from some protection.

Hardy trees

The majority of UK native trees have adapted to cope with the fluctuations in our climate. If you want hardy trees that are capable of withstanding wintry conditions, then plant rowan, elder or goat willow in your garden. To avoid a bare garden in winter, holly is an evergreen that has leaves all year round to provide attractive and much-needed greenery when other plants have died off. Planting native trees is also better for wildlife, who rely on these hardy trees to provide shelter and food during winter. For help and advice with trees in your garden, contact a Tree Surgeon Dorset like

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Potted plants

Too much frost, cold weather or rain can damage your potted plants. The best advice is to bring these pots and hanging baskets indoors in extreme weather. If this isn’t an option, surround the pots with some hessian wrap. Frost protection covers can be placed over the top of the plants and even straw can add some much-needed insulation. To avoid excess water from heavy rain, choose pots with drainage holes to prevent roots being starved of oxygen.


Anything tropical or delicate should be brought indoors during winter. A conservatory or greenhouse is the best option as they will require warmth and as much sunlight as possible. Palm trees should have their leaves tied up and packed in straw when the weather gets particularly cold.

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Vegetables and flowerbeds

Straw spread on the ground of your vegetable patch will help prevent the soil freezing. Mulch is also great for insulating the soil and roots. Flowerbeds can also be mulched to protect them from the harshest rain and frost of winter.

How can the wind damage plants and trees?

Wind – conditions can feel colder when wind chill occurs and in dry weather, it also increases dehydration. Plants and trees are best positioned in sheltered locations, ideally next to fences. A fence with gaps in it is actually better than a solid one as it allows for airflow through and avoids the turbulence of wind trying to overcome obstacles. Planting hedgerows is another effective way to lessen wind effects.